Architecture for Humanity Turns Fifteen, Names New Executive Director

The Maria Auxiliadora School in Peru, designed/built with help from Design Fellow, Diego Collazos, and with funding from the Happy Hearts Fund and the SURA Group. Image Courtesy of Maria Auxiliadora School

Architecture for Humanity, the non-profit responsible for propagating designers and designs around the world that “give a damn,” has named its latest Executive Director. After co-founders Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair announced their decision to step down in September of last year, the organization began a global search for the person who would replace them. Today, the Board of Directors has announced the appointee: Eric Cesal, an experienced designer and author of the memoir/manifesto Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice who first joined in 2006 as a volunteer on the Katrina reconstruction program and later established and led ’s Haiti Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince from 2010 to 2012.

(more…)

David Chipperfield Picked to Remodel Selfridges’ London Store

© Flickr CC User Jennifer Martinez

David Chipperfield has been selected by Selfridges to remodel their flagship London store, creating a new 4,600 square metre accessories department and creating a new entrance to the Eastern side of the building. The additions by Chipperfield are part of the store’s larger 5-year, £300 million project which also includes work by Gensler to better connect the original 1909 building by Daniel Burnham with the later addition behind.

Chipperfield’s addition will aim to improve the store’s presence on Duke Street, which will act as a secondary entrance to the building’s primary public face on Oxford Street, with the new accessories department planned to open in 2016.

(more…)

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

Montage. Image Courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, “the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.” Find out more about the project here.

(more…)

IM Pei Wins UIA Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement

Courtesy of http://blog.newx.com/

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced that it will award its Gold Medal to the Chinese born American architect and 1983 Pritzker Laureate, Ieoh Ming Pei.

By bestowing the most prestigious of the ’s awards on Pei, whose “life and work spans the history of modern architecture over five continents for more than sixty years,” the recognizes ”his unique style, his timeless rigor, and his spiritual connection to history, time and space.”

Pei will receive the UIA Gold Medal at the awards ceremony at the in Durban, South Africa on August 6th 2014.

Check out IM Pei’s works here on ArchDaily:

(more…)

Gehry’s Berlin Skyscraper May Be Too Heavy for Alexanderplatz

Gehry Partners’ winning design for the residential building on Alexanderplatz. Image © Gehry Partners, Courtesy of Hines

After winning the design competition for Germany‘s tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry‘s project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin‘s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.

More on the story after the break

(more…)

Doubts Over Qatar’s World Cup Future Causing Tension Among Architects

Foster + Partners’ design for the ‘Lusail Iconic Stadium’ which formed part of ’s initial bid.. Image Courtesy of Foster + Partners

An expert on the Middle Eastern construction industry has said that architects working in Qatar are worried about the future of their projects, following the allegations sparked by a Sunday Times report last week of corruption during the country’s 2022 World Cup bid. With many people calling for Qatar to be stripped of the event or for the bidding process to be re-run, there is a chance that Qatar might have to pull the plug on many of its major projects.

Speaking to the Architects’ Journal  Richard Thompson, the Editorial Director of the Middle East Economics Digest, said “A lot of people out here are watching it nervously.”

Read on for more of the comments made by Thompson

(more…)

London’s Shell Centre Awarded Planning Permission

Courtesy of The Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar Groups

The £1.2 billion Shell Centre development in London, masterplanned by Squire & Partners, has been awarded planning permission after being called in for review by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Featuring 8 towers of up to 37 storeys which will sit alongside the existing 27-storey Shell Tower, the scheme was granted permission by the local council last year but was called in for review over fears that it could threaten the UNESCO Heritage status of the area around Westminster.

However, despite being awarded planning once again, opponents of the scheme have said they will continue to fight it, and have threatened to mount a judicial review of the scheme.

Read on after the break for more on the controversy

(more…)

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

reinforcement. Image © Professorship of Architecture and Con- struction Dirk E. Hebel, ETH 3) Zürich / FCL Singapore

Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the to meet that demand.  Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global market dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo.  Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.

(more…)

How Safe Are Glass Skyscrapers Really?

The Willis Tower’s Glass Balcony. Image Courtesy of Jared Newman, DesignCrave.com

Imagine standing on a glass platform with Chicago 1300 feet directly below. Suddenly, the glass holding you begins to crack. This actually happened to Alejandro Garibay at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) just last week. Luckily, Garibay wasn’t hurt, but the occurrence begs the question: how safe is glass - the most common material used in skyscrapers nowadays - really? Karrie Jacobs At Fast Company – Design, asked materials experts to find out “The Truth Behind Building With Glass.”

Venice Biennale 2014 Winners: Korea, Chile, Russia, France, Canada

© ArchDaily

The awards ceremony for the 14th  International Architecture Exhibition have just wrapped and the results are in! 

Rem Koolhaas, the director of the Biennale, Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, and the jury presented the awards for Lifetime Achievement and International Participations. The jury recognized that the Biennale was a tremendous opportunity to produce and share knowledge about modernity — especially praising its role in uncovering and dissecting new areas of influence in the architecture world. 

The Golden Lion for Best National Participation went to Korea for “Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula” The jury cited Korea’s “extraordinary achievement of presenting a new and rich body of knowledge of architecture and urbanism in a highly charged political situation.”

Chile received the Silver Lion for a National Participation for “Monolith Controversies”. The jury said, “Focusing on one essential element of modern architecture – a prefabricated wall- it critically highlights the role of elements of architecture in different ideological and political contexts.” 

The Silver Lion for best research project in the  section went to Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation for “Sales Oddity. Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-home TV Urbanism.”

(more…)

Venice Biennale 2014: “Towards A New Avant-Garde” Explores the Emergence of a New Generation of Radical Italian Design

© Philippe Declerck /

Writing about radical architects from the 1960s and 70s, the acerbic American critic Michael Sorkin wrote: “Some chose the resistance of advocacy planning and community defense, carrying on the identification with the oppressed. Many took to the woods, back to nature, to study communitarianism and to live a life of virtuous simplicity. Others wondered about the architectural equivalent of rock and roll.” Replace communitarianism with open source, or rock and roll with science fiction, and he could just as well be describing a group of young Italian architects working today. The practitioners of the 1970’s, especially in Italy, transformed their profession but ultimately failed to realize their utopias. What might this new generation achieve?

Towards a New Avant-Garde, an installation and series of discussions at the opening weekend of the Venice Architecture Biennale, will confront the work and approaches of past masters like Superstudio, Archizoom, and the Global Tools group with new, speculative, and politically-charged projects by groups like Itinerant Office, IRA-C, and Snark.

(more…)

VCU Breaks Ground on Steven Holl’s Institute of Contemporary Art

View of the ICA from the corner of Broad and Belvidere Streets. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Virginia Commonwealth University has officially broken ground this week on the Markel Center, the building that will house VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the Institute is sited at a busy intersection at the edge of the campus, and will serve as a gateway between city and university. Inspired by the metaphysical idea of multiple timelines occurring simultaneously, the building will have four galleries which can host individual exhibitions at the same time, or link up to host a single, unified show.

(more…)

Arup Develops 3D Printing Technique for Structural Steel

© David de Jong

A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing  joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing” which provides a way of taking “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”

Aside from creating more elegant components which express the forces within each individual joint - as you can see in the above photo – the innovation could potentially reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector.

Read on for more on this breakthrough

(more…)

Spotlight South Africa: Three Designs Instilling Dignity & Defeating Stigma

Mamelodi Pod, a home and temporary soccer club with solar electricity and rain water harvesting. Image Courtesy of

How do you undo centuries of inequality? How do you overturn an inequality so ingrained in a culture that it manifests itself physically - in the architecture of its homes and in the misshapen nature of its cities? 

This is the question post-apartheid South Africa has been struggling to answer for the past twenty years. And while the government has made many concerted efforts, for far too many the situation has remained largely the same. 

However, there are currents of change afoot. Many who have been marginalized are now working to defeat the stigma and legitimize their communities, and they are enlisting architects to the fray. From an organization in Capetown that aims to transform the role of the South African designer, to another in Johannesburg that uses design to legitimize informal architecture, to a project in one of the most violent townships in that has transformed a community, the following three projects are making a difference for the users who have the most to gain from their designs and design-thinking. All three represent not only the power of design to defeat stigma and instill dignity, but also the power of communities to incite these projects, make them their own, and enable them to thrive.

(more…)

AIA Names its 2014 Small Projects Awards Winners

Small House / Cooper Joseph Studio. Image © Elliot Kaufman

The American Institute of Architects () has selected ten recipients for their 2014 Small Projects Awards, which recognizes design excellence in projects with a budget of up to $1.5 million and with a floor area less than 5,000 square feet. The award “strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to all project types, including renovations and additions, no matter the limits of size and budget.”

This year’s awards include 5 houses, 2 pavilions, 2 installations and a cafe. See all 10 awarded projects after the break.

(more…)

3 Architects Appointed to Oversee £100 Million Cycling Infrastructure In London

Though the schemes are not exactly as dramatic as Foster + Partners’ Skycycle (pictured), they are part of a real commitment to make London more cycle-friendly. Image © Foster + Partners

Roger Hawkins (Hawkins\Brown), Sunand Prasad (Penoyre & Prasad) and Peter Murray (New London Architecture) have all been appointed by the Mayor of London to oversee the implementation of £100 million worth of cycling infrastructure in the city.

The scheme will focus on three London Boroughs: Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest, each of which were awarded “-Holland” status – a reference to the cycling haven of the Netherlands which these areas of London will be modeled on. Each borough will nominate their own principal designers, but the three appointed architects, who all sit on the Mayor’s design advisory panel, will be acting as consultant and client for a different borough.

Read on after the break for a rundown of the proposed changes

(more…)

Inside Homeland, Portugal’s Pavilion at the US Biennale

© Nico Saieh

The Portuguese Pavilion at the 14th edition of the  has created a newspaper, “, News from Portugal,” which covers the last 100 years of architectural, social and economic news from Portugal.

“Homeland, News from Portugal” has the objective of addressing the issues raised by Rem Koolhaas for Fundamentals – Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 through a critical and purposeful reflection on housing – a field par excellence for modern experiments – as an essential element of urban and rural environments and a social and cultural reflection of inhabitants.

The newspaper will publish the progress of ongoing projects of 6 groups of architects working in 6 Portuguese cities on 6 different types of housing (temporary, informal, collective, improvement, isolated, rural), and will be distributed during the 6 months of the Venice Biennale.

Brazilian Artist Builds Labyrinth of Wooden Roots

Screenshot from video

Given a cavernous gallery space at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo, artist Henrique Oliveira has created Transarquitetônica, a breathtaking installation from plywood, which fills the room with twisted tree roots large enough for gallery visitors to walk inside.

Read on after the break for more images of the , including photos of its construction

(more…)